Being able to finally see the much anticipated Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the open training was quite amazing. The moment one steps into the impressive sports cathedral, you can't help but be in awe. For me personally, I kept thinking to myself "It's finally here" as I reminisced about all the delays that kept us away from our rightful home. Atlanta United now has a permanent place to call home, and they open their doors to everyone for the first time on September 10th (Just nine days!!!).
Here are my main takeaways from my short stay at the stadium, takeaways that will hopefully get everyone excited to experience the atmosphere of Atlanta United's next home match in a shiny new spaceship(stadium).
This certainly wasn't something I expected to have an opinion on when I first got to MBS. However, it's probably important to note. There were a good amount of people waiting in front of the main gate before the stadium was officially open to us. Once the gates were opened, there were at least 20 different metal detector lines that people could wait in. The process took a little while, but it's important to remember that this is still a new process for the employees at the stadium as well. I'm sure once all the gates are open on matchdays, it'll be much quicker.
What really got my attention was the ticket scanning, which is actually done by the event attendees, not a dedicated ticket scanning staff. Personally, I don't mind this at all. However, since almost everyone wasn't aware of this change, not many people had their tickets prepared once they came through security. This resulted in the stadium staff having to make sure no one passed the ticket scanners(because it's pretty easy to miss them depending on where you came in) and that everyone quickly got their tickets prepared. This confusion obviously caused some delays, but I think it'll be a great idea once people get used to it.
The first thing I did when I walked into MBS was find my seat in the Supporters Section. It's nice that it's essentially the closest section to the entrance, making it simple for the rowdiest of fans. The first thing I noticed about the section is just how large it is, both in length and width. It'll be a sight to see once the stadium is packed.
I was also curious to see how close the section was to the pitch. There's a wall below the front row, so the section itself is much more elevated than it was at Bobby Dodd Stadium. However, it still seems to be pretty darn close to the goal.
At the bottom of the aforementioned wall are club seats. The people sitting there are either going to absolutely love it or absolutely hate it considering they are right below the Supporters Section. I hope they're all well aware of what comes with those seats (lots of spilled beer on their heads).
Food & Drink
The options are endless. I had my heart set on a Closed on Sunday chicken sandwich from Gillespie's, but the poor college kid/cheapskate in me shuttered at the thought of spending $14 on something that Chick-fil-a offers for $3. I've heard the "quality over quantity" spiel. That spiel however doesn't take into consideration my empty pockets. Maybe I'll just put it on my bucket list.
I love that fans can self-refill their fountain drinks. Considering $2 gets you a soda that can be refilled throughout the entire match/game/event, this purchase will become a new tradition for me. Plus, now that we don't have to wait in line just to get a refill, there seemed like a dramatic decrease in the size of lines. Now obviously there were only 20,000 people there at the open training rather than the full capacity of 71,000 that MBS will usually fit, but still. The small change was noticeable.
The same should be said about the self-serve topping stations for burgers, hot dogs, and whatever else you may want to put toppings on(because MBS probably offers it). Food was coming out at a rapid rate from the concession stands, which I think can absolutely be contributed to the fact that employees no longer have to worry about the specifics of certain foods. They leave that up to us, which no longer leaves them liable for delays and criticism from hungry spectators. It's a genius move if one thinks about it.
He/She is really handsome/pretty. Does he/she have a name? Let's name him/her Arthur/Gladys.
Other than the turf, I think it's as close to a soccer stadium as a football stadium can be. At no point did I think there would be a major disadvantage watching a soccer match at MBS compared to other events. It certainly has some kinks that need to be sorted out, but the fan-friendly atmosphere and services, as well as just the shear beauty of the stadium, will make for an incredible Atlanta United experience. I think I speak for all fans when I say that I cannot wait for September 10th.